The Oklahoma Corporation Commission will be tightening the regulations on waste water disposal wells. This comes shortly after Oklahoma recorded 40 earthquakes in a single week at the end of July. The majority of the earthquakes are believed to be caused by the deep injection of waste water from the oil and gas industry.
Oklahoma experienced 109 earthquakes magnitude 3.0 or higher in 2013. This number rose to 585 in 2014. As of early August, the total number of earthquakes recorded in Oklahoma is already nearly tied with the 2014 total. This rate of seismic activity is nearly 600 times the historical average for Oklahoma.
The new regulations will give well operators 60 days to reduce the volume of waste water disposal by 38% of their 2014 volumes. These cuts will reduce the volume of injected waste water to below the 2012 volumes, when the area saw its sharpest spike in seismic activity.